Sep 5, 2011

facts of life: reality check

Sometimes we feel completely disconnected from the world around us. In a foreign land, we don't read newspapers or watch TV, so it's very hard to keep up with the news. Be it a tragedy in a far away land, or the exact opposite, like someone you know becoming a parent, we only leave our traveling bubble once in a while. The further we go, the more we keep our minds busy with the challenge at hand.

It will be interesting to see how much has changed back home, after the ride is over. Or how much each of us has changed...

day 26 - Ostrava

Day 26
July 28th

As mentioned, all our events were cancelled. There are, apparently, not enough of us. So we decided to take the day to catch up on some work, and ended up beating a new record: 8.5 hours sitting in the same pub. They had food, beer, coffee and wifi. We couldn't ask for more.

After trying so hard to get a migraine, we were joined for dinner by Martina, one of our hosts in Brno. This entourage begins to orbit around us, meeting the group at more than one point. We hope it keeps happening.

Time to pack the kofola and get ready. We're entering Poland in the morning!

facts of life: it's active citizenship, stupid!

Having only three bikes on the road speaks loudly of the students' interest in doing something assertive for their own rights. It may seem crazy, but we are trying to get all those young people to speak up and get involved in the decisions that affect their opportunities and have an impact on their future.

Even more upsetting, though, is having meetings canceled "because there are not enough cyclists".

While ignoring the physical effort of these brave young lads and lassies is something I take personally, I guess ignoring the greater effort and commitment of hundreds of individuals and organizations is even more aggravating. We have had contact with many people who only now started to realize how important it is to let their voice be heard, and we still get shunned by some people who ask for more youth participation and do not act accordingly when the opportunity comes.

We're not stopping. We're going to knock at their doors again. And again. And again. Until they listen.

Won't you join us?

rider profile: Georgi

Name: Georg Klopf
Age: 23
From Austria
Studies: Dutch Studies

"Ride for your Rights! = meeting people from whole Europe + adventures + fun"

day 25 - Potstat to Ostrava

Day 25
July 27th

This morning our good doctor Thomas had to leave us and return to Austria. One big loss for the group, which is now down to three cyclists, and for Georgi in particular, who already misses his broken English buddy.

Another day without much to tell, we rode up and down the steep hills of Northeastern Czech Republic, always under the rain. The highest point of the day's trip was arriving at the highest point in the city of Ostrava, where our dormitory is located.

We were welcomed by our ESN hosts, Veronika and Michaela, checked in, had a shower and a nice meal. Then we learned a few things about Ostrava, always under the form of "Ostrava has the most [insert adjective] [insert name] in [insert another name that makes the statement true]". As we went out and took a tour of the city, we could actually confirm some of these statements, such as: the puppet theater is the most modern in the country; Stodolni street has the most bars and clubs per square inch; Czech karaoke is the strangest experience of our last week.

Stage F completed, nine more to go.